“If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword." Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:19-20, NASB)
As the firstborn son, with younger brothers and sisters, I watched my siblings grow and develop in the shadow of “their Big Brother.” I watched as my two brothers entered the turbulent teenage years. Like many teens, they challenged every authority figure in their path. Rebellion led the oldest one to the Texas Prison System and the youngest to the local US Marine Corps Recruiting Office. One was stripped of his freedom and spent years locked away. The younger one ran away from family, entered the military and spent time overseas.
Life in prison and life in the military share some common ground. Both impose order and use rigidly defined systems and rules to break the spirit of rebellion and disobedience, and to get people to follow the rules. Life in prison and the military proved to be good training grounds for life in the world.
My brothers are older and wiser now. The older one came out of prison with a strong resolve and commitment to never use drugs or do anything that would put him back behind bars. He married, started a family, built a painting business and surrendered his life to Christ. Now, his faith and relationship with Jesus Christ is the driving force in his life. The younger one served honorably with distinction in the Marine Corps Honor Guard. We have pictures of him standing at attention before Presidents of nations. He now lives on the family farm with his wife and family, and works hard to support them. As the “Big Brother,” occasionally I still give advice and counsel. More often, I simply listen. Daily, I pray for them and ask God to bless them and protect them. I praise God that they have decided to listen and have given up their rebellious ways.
Father, thank You for brothers in the flesh and in the spirit. Jesus, teach me to be a good brother, to always offer unconditional love and support, and to serve as a role model for faithfulness and obedience. Through the blood of Jesus and in the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
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